Imported fruits are one of the main characteristics of Carrefour (C4TW) that distinguish the store chain from other retailers in Taiwan. Mrs. Penny Chang is the manager of C4TW import fruit sector. She shared with us her insights into the market trends of imported fruits in Taiwan, and local consumers’ current preferences.
In 2020, a variety of imported fruits were allowed to enter the Taiwanese market. “We received blueberries from Peru for the first time. The blueberry variety we received has a larger size compared with the ones from USA and Chile. The taste is also a bit sourer. Pricewise, the market price of Peruvian blueberries is lower than the price of blueberries from other origins. We received great feedback from customers, and the blueberry shows a good sales performance. Our L4L MTD sales of blueberries increased by 22% in Nov. 2020, and though it was during the pandemic, L4L MTD sales increased by 120.7% in Dec.2020.”
Unlike Peruvian blueberries, the performance of Italian apples was not so good. “The Italian apple was first allowed into Taiwan in 2020. From Italy to Taiwan, the transit time is around 40 days. The product quality was not very stable after such a long transit time. The apple's taste became a bit too sour for our local customers. Therefore, we paused the import plan for this season.” Penny said.
“At the moment, our biggest challenge is that, with the slow market movement during the pandemic period, the quality of our fruits deteriorates, and the shelf life becomes shorter. So we have to lower the price in order to boost the sales. And this leads to a vicious cycle.”
According to Penny, fruit quality is the first priority for Taiwan consumers. Fruits free from pesticide residuals are most welcome. Good taste is also an important factor for people making purchase decisions. “For example, fruits with a balanced sugar level, apples with crunchy texture and seedless grapes are very popular. We also see an obvious trend that consumers tend to purchase more fruits with reputable health benefits, such as kiwis, blueberries, avocados and pomegranates,” Penny added.
“Taiwan has a long history of producing a variety of tropical fruits such as mangoes, pineapples, bananas and watermelons during the summer period. Other types of fruits rely on imports, and local consumers are especially crazy about imported cherries and peaches.” Penny said. “With the increased health concerns, blueberries and avocadoes have gained much popularity over the past 5 years. Local consumers consider them ‘super fruits. Take the blueberry as an example, 10 years ago, our store demand was only 2 pallets/week, but nowadays, this type of fruit has become one of the top 3 sales items during CNY, with an average demand of 20 pallets/week.”
One of the company’s goals is to become the leader of the retail business in Taiwan. C4TW will focus on a food transformation plan guided by the C4 group of France. The slogan of C4TW is that “Customers deserve the best” therefore C4TW provides customers with safe food in stable and good quality from local and international products. C4TW offers a series of organic fresh fruits and vegetables to meet customers’ expectations. “My goal is to provide healthy, safe imported fruits in good and stable quality with affordable prices to customers,” Penny concluded.